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Many eCommerce sellers like to work with influencers. But they have no idea where to start! Are you one of them? If you are, don’t worry. Willy will explain step by step how you can collaborate with influencers in this podcast!
In this episode, Willy is going to cover:
- A step-by-step guide on how to engage influencers.
- The different methods of collaboration with influencers.
- The suitability of different collaboration methods for Amazon sellers
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Finding influencers to help promote your eCommerce brand is a norm today. However, many sellers still struggle to find the best way to work with them. In this podcast, let me show you a step-by-step guide on how to collaborate with influencers.
When collaborating with influencers, we can basically divide the process into two stages – a trial collaboration, and then an in-depth collaboration. This is because you should always test out an influencer’s compatibility with your products and see their outreach first, before you dive deep with further collaboration.
So for the trial collaboration, here’s what you should do. First, reach out to an influencer, and ask if they are interested to work with you. Once you get their consent, you can send a sample of your product to them, and let them try using it. If influencers like the product, you can then request for them to post about your product on their social media. This way, their posts will be more authentic, since they already have firsthand experience with it. Remember to provide them with your Amazon listing’s link too, so that they can direct people to see and buy your products from their posts!
Do note that at this stage, there’s no need for you to pay the influencers. Before sending them the free sample, it is your responsibility to state clearly that this first collaboration is only a trial, to see if you are a good fit to work together. Their payment for this first collaboration will be your sample product – I mean, you are already giving them a free product which costs some money already. Most influencers are generally fine with this arrangement because they will want to prove their proficiency in this trade and gain your trust too.
Sometimes, influencers may also ask for your preference on which type of social media you want them to do their post on. For me, I will always go in this sequence: TikTok, then YouTube, followed by Instagram, and then Facebook. Why I do this is because TikTok is getting a lot of attention nowadays, and you can see an influencer’s effectiveness at promoting products straightaway just from this platform. Other than that, influencers who work on TikTok are generally more affordable, so this allows you to ease into the influencer marketing process gradually, before you decide to invest more time and money with this marketing approach.
So after a while, if everything goes well and you see that you get a lot of traffic to your Amazon listing from the influencers’ posts, you can go on to think about in-depth collaboration. By ‘in-depth’, it means you are more or less certain that you want to strike up a long-term collaboration with the influencers. You can continue with what you have been doing for your trial collaboration, like ask them to keep posting on their social media about your products. But now, you can come up with some payment structure for their posts, say, pay them about 3% of your earnings for every lead they help to generate for your product. This is the most common type of collaboration, or what we call the ‘affiliate marketing collaboration’, where you give some commission for influencers to market your product, and track their results via affiliate links. But in this podcast, I will like to provide you with more ideas on how else you can collaborate with influencers to get the most traffic.
First up on my list will be to do a ‘contest/giveaway collaboration’. What this means is that you get the influencers to conduct a contest for their followers, so that when the followers complete the contest, they can get some free giveaways. The idea here is to attract eyeballs to your products – influencers can arrange for the contest terms to be something like to visit your brand on Amazon, to follow your brand on social media, or to leave a comment beneath your products’ promotional videos, etc. The winner of the contest can then receive a free giveaway, which can be your product, or maybe in the form of Amazon gift cards. This is a process that we call ‘gamification marketing’, which means you incorporate gaming elements into your marketing approach to improve engagement levels. In any case, I always like to go to this website called ‘Gleam.io’ for the purpose of conducting such contests. It’s a sophisticated website that allows you to partner with influencers to conduct contests, and you can check it out by simply googling for ‘gleam influencers’. There will be specific guidelines on the website to show you how to conduct contests, so you can take a look at that if you want to know more.
Next, you can also do ‘guest blogging’ with your influencers. This means you write content on another website to bring traffic to your own products. For example, if the influencers you are collaborating with have established blogs or websites, you can request to write a guest article on their blogs to promote your products. I have done this before with the website ‘Buzzfeed’, which is a website focused on publishing articles on entertainment, news, and DIY materials. This website is run by an influencer company, and their website has a lot of traffic. So you can imagine the amount of attention my products got when they publish my guest article!
And related closely to ‘guest blogging’ is another influencer marketing approach that we call ‘cross promotion’. This means you and another brand promote for each other, maybe by writing guest articles on your websites, or conducting Live sessions together on your TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook Pages, etc. But mind you, this approach is most effective only when you are working with another brand of a closely related niche. For example, say, if I am selling coffee presses, I will work with another brand who is selling coffee grinders, or maybe who sell coffee beans. After all, people who are interested in my coffee press will probably want to know more about different coffee beans available, instead of cosmetics or make-up brushes. Such collaboration can bring about a ‘1+1=2’ kind of multiplying effect and is a win-win situation for both brands.
Last but not least, when you have worked with certain influencers for a long time and you really like them, you can consider hiring them as your brand ambassadors. This is one of the most extensive collaborations you can have with influencers. To understand this concept better, you can think of it like, say, the previous three collaboration types are when you are in the ‘dating’ stages with your girlfriend or boyfriend. Then, when you want to hire certain influencers as your brand ambassadors, you will be like ‘going into marriage’!
Anyway, jokes asides, engaging an influencer as a brand ambassador means you will allow them to represent your brand. They are the experts when it comes to talking about your products, and they have an obligation to help bridge the gap between your brand and your target audiences. In terms of performance, generally, you can set a target for your brand ambassadors to talk about your products between every one to five posts, so that your brand gets regular exposure. Some brands will even offer programs to induct influencers to become brand ambassadors, like this brand called ‘The Coldest Water Bottle’. But that’s because they are already very used to the concept of influencer marketing, and they know exactly what they are looking for in brand ambassadors. If you are just starting your own brand, I will advise you to go slow. Develop a brand tone first, and observe suitable influencer candidates for a longer time before making up your mind. After all, you won’t want your brand to be misrepresented!
Alright, so that’s my very brief guide about how you can collaborate with influencers. I hope you guys find this guide helpful, and stay tuned for my next episode if you like to hear more tips on managing an eCommerce business!